"scritch" "squeak." What would you call the sound of olive wood being meticulously lifted from the confines of its neatly cut rectangular block, now being revealed as the artist's inspiration unfolds.
Years ago I found solace through woodcarving when I was caring for my terminally ill father, who stayed awake late at night, afraid to go to sleep. I would carve into the early morning hours, chipping away at what would eventually be a carousel horse, the first of 3 carousel characters.
The house would be quiet, until the girls woke up a few hours later to start their day. While stealing dimly-lit hours to create, I was also available to Dad as I sat in the kitchen outside his room, in silhouette, listening for any unusual sound.
My solace was most likely also his.
The love and pride of creating something that was once taking in nurture through the earth and sky, now inanimate after being cut down...into a piece of art, was familiar. The wood block was emerging as The Madonna and Child through the patient skilled hands of Master Carver Pasquale as I watched.
I was introduced, then welcomed into his carving studio with of course...a camera in hand. Pasquale's finished artwork is amazing. It varies from practical items for gifts and souvenirs to larger creations of mythological and religious themes.
Faces twisting their way out of a large limb reminded me of Dali. An enormous boars head was in the works, most likely destined for a business or art collectors wall.
That was just my guess, I didn't ask.
Smiles. Gestures. The Italian and English were superfluous to the admiration I had for the carving, the tools, the sawdust and the chips on the floor.
My "muse" (because after all, he is...) graciously interpreted in both directions. A master at multi-tasking. It's because of him I'm even here.
My friends and family have been commenting and congratulating me on my "vacation", which it is... and isn't. I'm still working "remotely" with a few on-line projects.
I have traveled abroad only once when I was in the floral industry to Bogota and Medellin to tour flower farms.
Years ago, wanderlust and the desire for change led me to fill my car at 21, move to Oklahoma and eventually to Reno, NV and Seattle WA on a five year sojourn. I have been through most of the States. Europe has always been on my wish-list. This is more of a life-style experiment.
Losing friends recently has made an impact on me. They were so young to be gone. Accidents, illnesses and unfortunate events took them too soon. My priorities haven't really changed...they've rearranged.
I am a "maker"and I was in my element in the middle of the wood-carvers studio.
Content in my heart and soul when something is being made either three dimensionally or on-screen. Manipulating colors,images, reeds, cane, wood and now...a few words. They're wrenching their way out of my middle-of-the-night thoughts.
Inspiring others through teaching the arts is rewarding. I have a lot of plans for the upcoming year in near and far settings.
But for the moment... the communities I visit are a well of inspiration and the travels continue...
To see more of Pasquale, click on the image or link below.
Spring Classes are beginning! February 2nd is our first class at On The Surface Studio in New Haven from 12-2. Click on the image to learn more!
Sue Muldoon divides her time between 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional work. She bounces back and forth between photography, web design and graphic design to seatweaving (chair caning, wicker repair, rush, splint, etc.) and basket weaving.
Basketry started as an add-on to seat weaving because there was material begging to be used in more than one format.
Sue’s career has always been creative, from wallpaper hanging and interior painting to a lengthy career in the floral industry as designer and merchandiser. Wood carving, furniture refinishing and upcycling furniture in novel ways using unique materials like leather belts, ties and alpaca wool set her apart from traditional seatweaving methods.
Color is rampant and unapologetic.
Where some might see a chair, Sue sees a statement. She spends the majority of her time now repairing seats (an unabashed “chairnerd” and webmaster of The SeatWeavers Guild, Inc) but enjoys branching out into basketry.
She considers her seatweaving work to be part functional and part emotional. Along with repairing chairs, she repairs the memories that are attached to seats that are in demise and disrepair. The joy on a client’s face when they see family history brought back to functionality is inspiring.
Her photography and design work enable her to get the word out about what she does, and her skills in social media are in demand from farmers markets, growers, artists and authors.
Creating special baskets for her most rapt audience, her 3 and 8-year-old grandsons, keeps Sue busy and inspires her to teach them to appreciate nature, natural materials and art.
A frequent instructor at various sheep, wool and fiber festivals and art retreats and farmers markets, she enjoys sharing seatweaving and basketmaking to new crafters and artisans.
Contact Sue at email@example.com